When the $15 million overhaul of the Whitehurst Freeway is completed three years hence, the commuter route will have lost more than its potholes. Also gone will be the delightfully oddball "exits to nowhere."
Barriers block the nonfunctional ramps, but they're easy enough to see. Next time you're headed into the District, take the "West-66 -- Kennedy Center -- E Street" exit and look to the right, where the ramps split off in a "Y," with Georgetown to the west, downtown to the east. Or just stroll down to 26th and K streets NW, and scope out the hillside.
"What is that thing?" incredulous tourists have been heard to wonder, gaping from below at the concrete ramp hanging in midair. A tiny park is perched eerily on the hill, just above where the massive structure plunges into some spindly trees. It looks like the set for a disaster movie, with a playground that was somehow spared.
Truth is never so much fun.
"The exit ramps were supposed to be part of an inner-loop freeway that never was built," says D.C. traffic chief George Schoene. "They no longer serve any purpose, so they'll be removed as part of the renovation."